Archive for 'iTunes'

iTunes Web Widget

I got all excited there for a minute when I saw this new iTunes Widget thingy. But it doesn’t do the one thing I’d like it to, List currently playing songs on MY iTunes. It shows album/songs I recently purchased, albums/songs I’ve reviewed (none) or my Favorites which is merely a list of the artists I’ve purchased most at iTunes. It would be cooler if this was actual data from MY iTunes listening.

If you look in the sidebar to the right you will see a heading called “iTunes is Playing”. This is a near realtime list of what I am listening to right now. The only lag is that is is a very bandaged together system that uses the old KungTunes to publish locally and then an Interarchy mirror to upload because KungTunes stopped being able to directly upload a long time ago, like at iTunes 4 or 5 and development stopped back then (2004).

Right below that is a Last FM widget that does even more. Not only does it list tracks scrobbled from iTunes but it lists songs that I listen to right on the Last FM radio stations.

I liked my band-aid solution because it serves MY interest, not Apple’s or Last FM’s by automatically generating a link to Amazon where you could grease me a bit through the affiliate program if you bought the album there. Obviously both Apple and Last FM want you to go to there sites and spend your rupees there. I guess we are all self serving!

If the iTunes Widget let me make coin from my iTunes affiliate account maybe it would be more useful to me. Also, I went through my library and of the nearly 5,000 songs about 250 have been purchased at iTunes. the iTunes Widget is hardly representative of my total listening habits.

Anyway, here is what my Apple iTunes Widget looks like:

Oh, if you looked at the “Songs” section and noticed “That’s What Friend’s Are For” in three versions, don’t hate me. My daughter had to sing it for a 2nd Grade project so I got those for her to practice with!

iTunes Complete My Album Feature

Kudos to Apple for finally doing this. There is no reason to have to pay for a song twice if you tried a track and then decide to buy the whole album. I had about 40 albums from which I bought songs but not the whole thing. I only “completed” one album, the other I wanted said it was being modified and to comeback later, but I also bought several songs from albums I’d previously purchased a song from. The reminder of the songs I’d bought was a nice tickler to look over the bands again and listen to the snippets to see if any other songs struck my fancy.

To find this new feature just go to the itunes home page at the iTunes Music Store and look on the right side in the “Quick Links” section and go to “Complete My Album”

iWoW iTunes SRS Plug-in

I played around with this plug-in for a while today. It was one of MacUpdate’s deals of the day and at $12.00 (40% off the regular $19.95) it seemed like a good deal

I ended up playing with the settings for most every song I listened to on my Dual 2.0 G5 with M-Audio Studiophile SP-5B’s running digital in through an M-Audio 2496 Super DAC (This is my mixing and mastering speaker set up and for that work I really like the flat response and the in-your-face sound field the SP-5s create.) I was trying to get the perfect settings. What worked for one song did not, necessarily, work for another. It seemed like I needed to tweak it for every song and especially if it was a change in Genre, say Metal to Jazz. Bummer because my playlists are pretty eclectic with the musical style varying a lot from song to song. Too much overhead for me. I think that if you listen to similar musical styles a lot you may get by with a standard setting like the preset “Rock” or other Genre. With the SRS on at my mix volume it was usually too much processing and I liked the clean sound straight through the SP-5s. It always sounds like the high-end of the frequency spectrum is getting muddied or something. At low volume, the type I like to work with in the background when I am doing web coding or writing, I liked the added presence of iWoW doing just a touch of work. It seems to open up the sound stage some.

Unfortunately, on my G5 running 10.4.8 there is a bug or conflict that does not let me see the iWoW window after I close it. Couldn’t do anything to get it back. It does not show up in the “Window” menu like it is supposed to. I reinstalled it and as long as I don’t shut the window using the “x” it seems to be working even after I quit iTunes and restart. Weird.

On my MacBook Pro I tried it with both the stock speakers, where I noticed the biggest improvement in sound quality and fidelity, and with my Grado S-80 headphones where it was a waste. The Grados are so good that any processing just muddied up the sound. The stock speakers, however, are so poor normally that some of iWoW’s voodoo actually helped quite a bit, especially being able to move the apparent crossover frequency with the “Speaker Size” control.

So, because of the bug on the G5 and the way I normally listen to music I guess I’ll just leave it installed on the MacBook Pro for those times when I have to use the built in speakers. That seemed, to me, the biggest bang for the buck anyway.

You can find a Mac or PC version at http://www.srslabs.com/consumerhome500.asp

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